Philippe Galez, President of Savoie Mont Blanc University (USMB), heads a higher education institution with 15,000 students spread over three campuses: Annecy (74), Le Bourget-du-Lac (73) and Jacob-Bellecombette , in near Chambéry (73). The Savoyard University intends to respond in particular to the challenges of its territory while continuing to develop its international links.
And as the cold increasingly invites itself into the amphitheatres, the university implements its sobriety action plan in the face of skyrocketing energy costs.
What are the main strategies of your company?
Above all, we try to strengthen our social impact through four main areas : Develop excellence in research and training to meet the challenges of society and territories in our areas of expertise (human-environment interaction, services and industries of the future, and cultural heritage and society in transition); to structure research and training in an interdisciplinary manner in order to understand the complex issues of our time; developing higher education that meets the expectations of stakeholders (secondary students, employers and citizens in a knowledge dissemination role); and strengthen the international dimension of the university and its attractiveness.
The university takes care to articulate this strategy with the major projects it acquires and implements. For example, we are working on the implementation of the project “Excellence in all its forms”, USMB SHINE (Strategy for Higher Impact oN Ecosystem and Society), under PIA 4, from which it benefits Funding of 8.7 million euros over seven years. We are committed to promoting interdisciplinarity and the linking of teaching and research.
PIA 4: Investing in higher education to support industrial change in France
The University is leading the higher education component of the Avenir(s) program to develop with its partners a portfolio adapted to the competency-based approach.
How do you use the influence of the USMB internationally?
International relations are a historical point of our university: one third of the graduates have at least two months of experience abroad. And despite its medium size, the University of Savoie Mont Blanc is mentioned in several rankings thanks to the impact of its scientific production and the internationalization of its research.
International: How is student mobility developing to France?
With the partners of the European university UNITA – whose label is to be renewed in 2023 – we have a firm will to involve institutions in the construction of a European university, eventually institutionalize. Introduced through international relations, the European university gradually spread throughout the institution: it now affects all departments, all components, all laboratories.
The University of Savoie Mont Blanc is mentioned in several rankings thanks to the impact of its scientific production and the internationalization of its research.
we do it now a distinction between a mobility on one of the campuses of the European university and a mobility with another partner. Obviously these aren’t USMB campuses, but they aren’t campuses of other USMB partners either: it’s something in between. We will work with our partners to build this real university and joint degrees. And if we fail to adapt the European instrument we have chosen, the European Economic Interest Grouping, we will propose a new model.
How do you compare to the big neighboring universities (Grenoble Alpes, Lyon, Saint-Étienne, Geneva etc.)?
We work together with all these institutions. With the University of Grenoble Alpes, We have a certain number of shared services and five shared surveillance labs.
Savoie and Haute-Savoie have 1,300,000 inhabitants. A territory of this size must have its own university and see how it is evolving, especially as it welcomes 10,000 new residents every year, its employment rate exceeds 70% or even represents 22-23% of activity in Haute-Savoie (compared to 11% nationally).
These areas need educated young people and nearby labs to work on global and local issues.
How do you anchor yourself in your territory?
I have some examples to give. We have created an inventive mountain tourism center whose mission is To support mountain communities in their development and the implementation of transitions, through research or action research projects with students. I can quote the big one [La]Bo, in Grand-Bornand (74), with a diagnostic phase on territorial responsibilities, the design of decision-making tools for elected local officials, etc.
Savoie and Haute-Savoie have 1,300,000 inhabitants. A territory of this size must have its own university and watch it grow.
In addition, since 1991 The USMB Business Club brings together around one hundred member companies and works, with the BAIP [bureau d’aide à l’insertion professionnelle], the professionalization of students and the professional integration of graduates. He leads a large number of student company demonstrations.
Finally, The USMB Foundation intervenes to support research in a university-business alliance that serves the challenges of the territoryin particular via chairs: sustainable tourism, mobility, environmental economics, infrastructure and risks in the mountains, etc.
How is the USMB approaching winter in the context of the energy crisis?
We returned a first version of our sobriety plan to the Rectorate on November 2, 2022, which we will now implement. 2022, our energy expenditure will increase from 1.25 million to 2.10 million euros. For 2023, the additional costs are still difficult to estimate precisely, we are in the process of gathering the necessary elements.
In 2022, our energy expenditure will increase from 1.25 million to 2.10 million euros.
The action plan is quite broad. We will be closing our three locations on December 19th, 20th and 21st except for absolutely necessary activities. We will limit heated areas after 6:30 p.m. to one building per campus where all educational activities take place, with the exception of university libraries, which will remain open. And in the evening, turn off all devices that can be stopped without too much difficulty, so as not to consume too much electricity during periods of high grid usage.
Will universities overcome the energy crisis?
We also reduce the outdoor lighting and We will withdraw 1.6 million euros from our working capital to carry out a complete lamp replacement [remplacement des systèmes d’éclairage par des dispositifs plus économes en énergie]. Finally, longer-term works are planned: conversion to a biomass boiler room in Le Bourget by the end of 2023-beginning of 2024, thermal rehabilitation of buildings, etc.
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